Economy May 10, 2016 | 9:03 am

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Dominican Telecom aims to shield children from Web threats

Santo Doming-.- The Dominican Telecom Institute (Indotel)and Justice Ministry work to implement a National Cybersecurity Strategy, witha special section aimed at children and adolescents, to ensure their protectionwhen they use the Web and make them become "true digital citizens."

Indotel project analyst Armando Manzueta said information andcommunication technology projects have become an extension of the lives ofthousands of users, to the point that "the Internet has changed the way wework, have fun and interact with family and friends."

He said Indotel works on the strategy in coordination with theJustice Ministry’s Specialized Prosecutor for High Tech Crimes (Pedatec).

The expert said there are around five million Dominicans withinternet access aged 10 and older and, of that number, some 500,000 arechildren and adolescents who’re exposed daily to various risks with littleadult supervision.

Among the threats Manzueta cited cyberbullying, Webaddiction disorder, sexting, threats to privacy, sexual harassment and child pornography.

"We cannot pretend that giving a cell or tablet willreassure a child as if it were a drug," said Manzueta, adding thatchildren and adolescents need face to face contact with people their age andaddress their parents in that aspect of their lives.

He warned that many of these electronic devices allowsatellite tracking of the user’s position, and use data to define behaviors andpredict user actions.

Manzueta added that UNICEF estimates that there are around fourmillion websites with images of child sexual abuse and, according to the UN,there are around 750,000 pedophiles on the internet at any time, stalkingchildren and adolescents.

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